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PhD Student in Photonics (ESR3) - Coupling of SiC color centers to nanophotonic structures

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    Ecole Centrale de Lyon
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    04/09/2020 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND


We seek a highly talented and ambitious PhD student to join, in the framework of the ECLAUSion cotutelle programm (see below), our project aiming at fabricate and characterize SiC photonic structures with embedded colour centres for quantum information application.


Domain and scientific context:

Point-like defects in wide-bandgap materials are attracting intensive research attention owing to prospective applications in quantum technologies (information processing, sensing) and in near infrared spectrum bio-imaging [1]. The reason is three-fold: (i) these defects can be considered as artificial atoms with highly efficient optical transitions (single photon sources realization); (ii) they may encompass charge, orbital and spin degrees of freedom, with possibility for instance of optical control of the spin (Qubit application); (iii) the spin and electronic states can be well isolated from environmental fluctuations leading to record spin coherence. In this context, the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond has become a highly mature system, used for a large range of applications. Nevertheless, since 2010, point defects in SiC have been intensively studied [2-4]. Indeed, SiC presents advantages for these applications: (i) growth at an industrial scale ; (ii) control of the technological steps for devices realization thanks to the upstream of power electronic applications ; (iii) unparalleled properties making SiC an ideal platform for photonic quantum information processing.


The goal of the thesis is to realize and characterize SiC photonics structures (nanopillars, photonic crystals (PhC) cavities) with embedded color centers (Si vacancy (VSi) and Nitrogen - carbon vacancy complex (NCVSi)). The enhancement of photoluminescence (PL) emission both by collection efficiency improvement and/or spontaneous emission rate increase (Purcell effect) will be evaluated and will allow for characterization of optical spin control (Optically Detected Magnetic Resonance experiment) at single defect level. The expected demonstration of the optical spin-control in these structures will allow to use them as building block for applications in integrated quantum nanophotonics circuits. These circuits can be used for quantum sensing and quantum network applications. The possibility to realize integrated near IR sources from coherent emission mode of nanopillar assembly will be also investigated.

Scientific challenges:

  • Technological challenges:
    • On demand realization of color centers : localization of color center in nanopillars by mean of proton irradiation and masking (INL) ; Focused ion Beam writing (INL-RMIT)
    • Optimisation of PL enhancement: Design of nanopillar shape (tapering for instance) by control of deep dry etching (ICP-RIE) parameters. Design of pillars lattice structures by engineering dispersion (RCWA) for mode confinement and high Purcell effect.
  • Characterization challenges :
    • Optical spin state manipulation at single defect level: Benefit of the enhancement of the emission obtained in the nanopillars for magnetic sensing and nanoscopy. Realize micro-ODMR experiment via the use of an N-STORM microscope available at MNRF facility. Application to VSi defect.
    • Extend recently established super-resolution methods used for NV centers in diamond to color centers in SiC for super-resolution in biological systems.
    • Field cartography in array of pillars or PhC by Scanning Near-field Optical Microscopy (SNOM) in IR range (1100 nm - 1700 nm).

Expected original contributions:

Taking up the above mentioned challenges will lead to optimization of VSi and NCVSi magneto-optical properties and will allow coherent manipulation, measurement and entanglement using optical fields. Based on single NCVSi and VSi center, we will work towards the formation of spin-photon entanglement state, which is an essential part towards quantum network and distributed quantum computation. By applying engineering dispersion, specific lattice structures with NCVSi center embedded in pillars will be designed to obtain stationary modes extended over the pillars and lead to possible superradiance effect towards the formation of integrated IR source at 1.3µm on SiC

Research program and methodology:

The project will be benefit from initial collaborative studies started between INL and RMIT [5]. Indeed, a process for nanopillars realization has been developed at INL and the optical characterization of a first batch has been realized at RMIT.

First year: Optimisation of nanopillars process (Nanolyon platform) ; simulation for pillar lattices design (INL-ECL), color center realization (Protons irradiation at IPNL). Optical characterization (collective INL, single RMIT). 9 month at INL 3 at RMIT.

Second year: Magneto-optical characterization at RMIT (N-Storm Microscope from MNRF) ; new nanopillar sample realization and field cartography by SNOM (INL). 3 month at RMIT, 9 at INL.

Third year: Optical and magneto optical characterization at RMIT at single defect level, super-resolution in biological systems RMIT, results valorisation and thesis writing at INL. 6 month at RMIT, 6 month at INL.

Nanolyon platform will be intensively used for the technological development of the nanopillars. Laser and e-beam lithography will be used. Dry etching process i.e. deep RIE (ICP-RIE) for nanopillars design will be developed based on our knowledge for power electronic devices (MESA, trench insulation). The NIR SNOM equipment will be used for field cartography.

MNRF facility will be necessary for the use of the NSTORM microscope equipped with radio-frequency excitation and magnetic field modulation and also expertise in biological systems such as PC2 mammalian cell laboratory for the super-resolution experiment in biological systems. Additionally, MNRF will be heavily used for other tasks that require sample optimization/refinement such as annealing and micro/nano fabrication, wet etching (surfaced cleaning) and analytical characterization based on AFM.

As mentioned in the research program, the project will covers different fields: nanotechnology, nanomaterials and photonics. It will require development of skills in (i) technological realization in clean room, (ii) numerical simulation for structure design and (iii) optical + magneto-optical characterization.


[1] Schirhagl, R., Chang, K., Loretz, M., and Degen, C.L., “Nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond: nanoscale sensors for physics and biology.,” Annual Review of Physical Chemistry 65, 83 (2014).

[2] S. Casteletto et al. Nat. Mater. 3806 (2013)

[3] M. Widmann et al. Nature Mat. 1 dec 2014 DOI 10.1038

[4] L. Childress et al. Physics today p.38 oct 2014

[5] S. Casteletto, A.S. Al Atem,, F.A. Inam, H.J. Von Bardeleben, S. Hameau, A.F. Almutairi, G. Guillot, S. Sato, A. Boretti and J.M. Bluet, Deterministic placement of ultra-bright near infrared color centers in arrays of silicon carbide micropillars. Bellstein J. Nanotechnol. 2019, 10, 2383-2395. DOI : 10.3762/bjnano.10.229


The cotutelle ECLAUSion program

We seek talented and ambitious PhD students to join our new cotutelle PhD program ECLAUSion. ECLAUSion will build on ECL and RMIT outstanding reputation of research excellence, state of the art research facility in micro-nanofabrication and nanotechnology platform, and the rich Lyon and Melbourne area ecosystem in biotechnology and ICT industries to offer a multidisciplinary, cutting edge research program initially centered around 4 topics impacted by nanotechnologies i) functional materials, ii) electronics and computing architecture, iii) photonics and photovoltaics, iv) biotechnology and healthcare. ECLAUSion, with their strong academic researchers, programs and industrial support for the first time gathered within a single flag, provides a unique opportunity to develop global (across continents) crossdisciplinary PhD training & research with impact ranging from fundamental science to original technological innovation underpinned by nanotechnology. The domains of application cover key economic sectors for investment and growth and have been flagged as research collaboration priority in the Australian-EU S&T roadmap: semiconductors, microelectronics and photonics, telecommunications, ICTs in general, energy, health and well-being, biosensors.

More Information


The successful candidates will be employed on a full-time basis with a competitive salary in accordance with the Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Action rules. The successful candidates will receive a financial package consisting of living and mobility allowances, i.e. 2 900 €/month, the net salary will be around 1 500 €/month. In addition, a top-up living allowance for the ESR while in Melbourne (for a stay up to 12 months), and the student airfare between France/Australia will be paid to the ESR.

Eligibility criteria

1/ Academic criteria: Applicants for doctor of philosophy programs must have completed (or be in a position at the time of the call) a master by research degree or an equivalent diploma;

2/ International criteria: ESR will need to comply with the MSCA mobility rule. Applicants must not have had their main residence or carried out their main activity (work, studies…) in France for more than 12 months during the three years immediately prior to the deadline of the call (04/09/2020).

The eligibility of each potential applicant will be checked by the administrative management team.

Selection process

1- Administrative eligibility check of the applicants and evaluation/preselection by the doctoral supervisors and research teams of the possible candidates and shortlisting

Applications having passed the eligibility criteria will be handed to the doctoral co-supervisors and research teams (French and Australian). They will read these applications, comment them, discuss with potential students. The potential doctoral supervisors will then rank their candidates/topics and prepare a report/letter of support detailing and motivating their evaluation of all the applicants.

The ESRs evaluation will be carried out based upon the following criteria

  • CV, letters of recommendation, motivation letter, and grades obtained during their respective masters courses 30%
  • Individual interviews, motivation of the candidate, realization of the 3i dimension of the project. 30%
  • Adequacy of their academic background and research experience to the research project objective 20%
  • Future professional goals 20%

2- Interviews of the candidates in front of the selection committee. Overall ranking and selection of the top 5 pair candidates/topics.

The candidate will give, in English, a 10 minutes presentation followed by a 15 minutes discussion between the candidate and the selection committee (via visioconference or at ECL).

During this presentation, the candidate should briefly present

  • His/her background and the adequacy of his/her academic training and experience to the research topic
  • The description of the research topics as understood by the candidate
  • research-oriented, academics and personal motivation for this particular topic and scheme
  • Professional endeavor and the role of this PhD to achieve his/her goals

The selection committee will then select the top 5 pair candidate/topics based on the following criteria

  • Candidate track record, academic records and grades obtained during their respective masters courses, CV, letters of recommendation from the master internship supervisor and evaluation letter of the potential doctoral supervisor (30%)
  • Quality of the interview (presentation and discussion) (30%)
  • Adequacy of their academic background and research experience to the research project objective (20%)
  • Motivation of the candidate, realization of the 3i dimension of the project and career goals (20%)

Additional comments

First, verify that you fulfill all the eligibility criteria (see section below), in particular, the Academic and International criteria.

Second, find a research topic of interests among the PhD proposals. Contact the potential supervisors to discuss your interest and seek their support for your candidature: segolene.callard@ec-lyon.fr ; jean-marie.bluet@insa-lyon.fr and Stefania.castelletto@rmit.edu.au

Send applications via email to potential PhD supervisors. Applications will include a CV, letters of reference from supervisors of previous research projects, academic transcripts including bachelor’s and master’s, language proficiency in English (TOEFL/IELTS) if applicable, motivation letter, international experience (MSCA mobility rule, see specific requirements), and optionally a project research in line with the research topics.

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Technology: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Good
    FRENCH: Basic


The candidate will hold a MSc in nanoscience or nanomaterials with knowledge in quantum photonics. He(she) will like experimental work and be able to work at the interface of material and photonics. He(she) will not have studied in France for more than 2 years over the last 3 years.

Specific Requirements

International criteria: ESR will need to comply with the MSCA mobility rule. Applicants must not have had their main residence or carried out their main activity (work, studies…) in France for more than 12 months during the three years immediately prior to the deadline of the call.

The eligibility of each potential applicant will be checked by the administrative management team.


EURAXESS offer ID: 499824


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